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Posts Tagged ‘defense authorization bill’

Army Housing Partners Intent on Minimizing Impact of Benefits Cut

  • February 16, 2015
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Family housing developers at Army installations are trying to absorb the one percent reduction in basic allowance for housing imposed starting this fiscal year so that military families won’t need to make up the difference out-of-pocket. Slowing the growth in the BAH so it covers only 99 percent of rental costs was one of the few cost-saving reforms Congress included in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. To absorb the extra cost, developers are looking for ways to operate more efficiently, said Ivan Bolden, chief of the privatization and partnerships division of the Army’s office of the assistant chief of staff for installation management …

The Insanity Defense (Department) Will Remain Hard Pressed to Win Congress’ Approval for BRAC

  • February 12, 2015
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The Pentagon shouldn’t be surprised that Congress rejected its requests the past three years to realign and close additional bases and likely will ignore its request again this year. Until defense officials revise the BRAC law to address lawmakers’ concerns about the 2005 round’s ballooning implementation cost and less-than-promised annual savings, there is no reason to believe Congress will suddenly embrace a new round of base closures, Lucian Niemeyer, a former staff member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, says in a commentary published in Real Clear Defense. “Each year, Congress has asked the Pentagon to suggest improvements to the BRAC law and, each year, there have been none. It would be insane for Congress to say ‘yes’ to the same process and expect a different result …

Wittman Places High Bar for New BRAC Round

  • February 11, 2015
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The Defense Department needs to make a stronger case to convince Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) that the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee should approve its request to hold a new round of base closures. Wittman, who chairs the readiness panel, wants answers from DOD on two different questions before he would consider authorizing another BRAC, reported the Daily Press. One is finding out where the department is spending too much money. He does not believe that spending cuts should be applied equally across the services. The other answer Wittman is looking for is an analysis of the potential savings from a new round over the next five years …

New York Congresswoman Named Readiness Panel Vice Chair

  • February 8, 2015
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Rep. Elise Stefanik, a freshman Republican from Upstate New York, was named vice chair of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee last week, as part of an effort by Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) to get committee members more deeply involved in national security issues during the 114th Congress. Stefanik, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, has one major installation in her district, Fort Drum. “From this position, I will be able to work to undo the damaging effects that the sequester is having on our military readiness as well as bring a strong voice to protect and strengthen the interests of Fort Drum. I look forward to working closely with Subcommittee Chairman Rob Wittman on these important issues …

New BRAC Round Would Limit Military Force Structure, Forbes Says

  • February 3, 2015
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Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, said he opposes a new BRAC because conducting a round of base closures would freeze the military’s force structure at a level he believes is too low. “If you believe, as I believe, that these force structures are not right, that we are going to have to build these force structures up greater, then you’d better fight like the dickens to make sure you don’t have a BRAC …

Congress Will Come around on BRAC, Pentagon Official Says

  • February 2, 2015
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Congress ultimately will approve DOD’s request to hold a new BRAC round, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord said Monday, but he acknowledged it could take more time. During a briefing on Monday on the department’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal — which repeats last year’s request to hold a base closure round in 2017 — McCord recalled the two decades he spent as a staff member for the Senate Armed Services Committee.“I spent five years working with Sen. [John] McCain’s staff, at the time to get authority for what turned into the 2005 BRAC round,” he said. “We started back in 1997. So it doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. And in this case, it certainly has not …

Change in Housing Allowance Applies to Families Living On-, Off-Base

  • January 27, 2015
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Military families living in on-base privatized housing as well as those living off base will be affected by Congress’ move to slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing (BAH) so it covers only 99 percent of rental costs. The change, enacted as part of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, means that families moving into privatized housing will pay rent that is one percent higher than their BAH. “The basic premise is that whatever is happening to everybody in town, whatever added burden they’re bearing whether it’s one percent [of average rental costs] out of pocket or absent renter’s insurance, then people on base will bear the same burden …

Monterey Paved the Way for Communities, Installations to Share Municipal Services

  • January 22, 2015
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NPR’s Morning Edition on Thursday featured the pioneering partnership between the city of Monterey, Calif., and the Presidio of Monterey that delivers many base operating services to the installation at a lower cost than it had been paying. The initiative, which began more than two decades ago as a pilot project, helped convince lawmakers to include language in the FY 2013 defense authorization bill permitting all installations to form partnerships with their host communities to share support services for most municipal functions. In the two years since the legislation was enacted, Air Force and Army installations have been trying to take advantage of the new authority by collaborating with their host communities to enter into intergovernmental support agreements …

Malmstrom Supporter Eyes Potential for Mission Growth in Next BRAC

  • January 21, 2015
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Malmstrom Air Force Base has the potential to benefit from a new round of base closures through mission growth, according to David Weissman, chairman of the Montana Defense Alliance. “We think that there might be the opportunity through the BRAC to actually increase the size of Malmstrom if they were to reduce a base and move assets around. So our strategy would actually be to look at growth,” Weissman told KRTV. Congress has ignored the Pentagon’s calls for a BRAC recently, but Weissman believes lawmakers are close to realizing that the military services need a way to pare down their excess capacity. “I believe that the next year or so will be pretty eye-opening for them all and they’ll come around and believe it’s the right thing to do,” he said …

No BRAC until Military’s Future Role Is Clarified, Thornberry Says

  • January 15, 2015
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One week after taking the reins of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) revealed a strong reluctance to consider authorizing a new round of base closures, and underscored the need to better define the future roles and missions of the nation’s military before going ahead. “We are still having a discussion in this country about what the role of the United States is in the world and about what sort of military capabilities we need to fulfill that role. Once you give up a base or a training range, it’s gone forever …

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